AUTHORITARIANISM

Today’s media platforms reveal that America’s three-legged democracy stool is missing its third leg. Economics and politics are thriving; and the missing third leg, morality, is blatantly obvious. In the rear-view mirror are ethics, character, decency, common good, honesty, integrity, probity, rectitude, righteousness, rightness, uprightness, virtue, virtuousness, values, and common beliefs. Witness suppression of voting rights, COVID-19 pandemic turned political, self-serving football, mass and social media untruths, cyber and space warfare, infrastructure decay, squabbles about the new NCAA rule that allows athletes to monetize brands, Critical Race Theory, inequitable wages, healthcare and childcare shortcomings, systemic racism and casts, LGBTQ rights questioned, environmental degradation, untreated mental health, home grown terrorism, immigration overload and inhumanity, thriving white supremacy, baseless, sickening, political gobble de guke, education state-of-the art and funding deficiencies, insane gun control, and the list continues. The danger is continued and deepening division, fear, and autocracy. The opportunity is to improve common good as individuals; and merge and participate in interactive dialogue and collectively manifest the missing third leg of the stool, morality, or common good, for America and Americans. As Jonathan Sacks offers in Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times,

Recovering liberal democratic freedom will involve emphasizing responsibilities as well as rights; shared rules, not just individual choices; caring for others as well as for ourselves; and making space not just for self-interest but also for common good. Morality is an essential feature of our human environment, as important as the market (economics) and the state (politics), but outsourceable to neither. Morality humanizes the competition for wealth and power. It is the redemption of our solitude. (20)

Authoritarianism has gotten us where we are; and unless we do something different, we will stay where we are and eventually destroy ourselves. In The Passionate Mind Revisited Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad offer “Authoritarianism has two basic traits: a person or ideology that claims to know what’s best for others; and second, the authority is unchallengeable-not open to feedback and change when shown to be wrong.” (15) If the old, traditionalist worldview wins there is little likelihood the species will survive.

Yes, it feels like the country is a mess and that post truth, and consequently mistrust, is bubbling with conspiracy, spins, lies, partial truths, and more lies! Simply unhealthy ego, work-in-process human condition and shortcomings that are offering platforms for tomorrow’s challenges, opportunities, and evolution. An analytical glance reveals a least common denominator to be polarization, nurtured by festering, unhealthy selves that unleash pain and suffering in many forms.

Meditation and collective, interactive dialogue offer a breath of evolutionary optimism and hope for Americans to have productive, interactive, authentic dialogue to build coalitions, work together, create evolutionary beliefs and values, nurture and build visions for generations of children and experience compassion as the antibiotic to confront a nasty infection. No one needs to suffer, and no one wants to suffer. We need to evolve and not undermine the human desire to survive.

 

WE CAN DO MUCH BETTER!

Today it feels like the raging fire of polarization needs water! Simply, a view of the values of Self, others, and the collective through the lens of integral leadership, love, and compassion: visionary, worldview perspective, evolving and emerging now; words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, giving gifts and acts of service; and humanness. Simply merging with others and co-creating the change and transition the world needs now.

Political parties and politicians do not address root causes of issues for Americans. Unfortunately, they work problems, chat about symptoms, and offer tokens that offer temporary patches, permit posturing, and earn votes. And the cycles continue, election after election. The diversity of values of the Senators from the 50 states and 435 voting representatives, five delegates and one resident commissioner merging create a complex process that is certainly indicative of a government that is currently not able to accomplish much for Americans. Adding to the caldron of values complexity are ingrained, diverse, individual and collective cultural values—persons, families, neighborhoods, small towns, and cities—of Americans, and competing political parties and politicians who are marketing and selling changing and evolving, diverse party platforms, while lobbying for votes and salvation of jobs that pay personal bills.

After completing a quick and dirty review of the diversity of the Republican Party and Democratic Party platforms, partisan differences highlight the reality of limited and partial truths and the downsides of today’s political party sorting as fundamental to individual and collective identity. Moreover, there are glaring inadequacies of both parties because of a lack of view big enough to address the complex issues facing America and global partners today. This certainly helps one understand partisan political division, discord, and complexity in today’s evolving, awakening, and growing world; and it reinforces why folks are unable to agree on what America needs to unfold for generations to come. We each have values and are growing and evolving; our respective communities and cultures have values, are growing and are evolving; and we are all OK.

And political parties and politicians will not get this job done for us! They can help us! We need good leaders who are aware of and have a track record of successes in awakening collective intelligence beyond cultural addiction to authoritarianism and hierarchy. This requires awareness of the potential chains of ego; personal success with the journey of merging and becoming one with others; and successes with managing and leading dynamic change and transition. Integral captures the essence of the process, the unhealthy self, the healthy self, the true self and the authentic self; and it demands a long-term process, not a one or two term posture game. We the people must get committed to get it right because this is our process, not some process sold to us by a vote getting politician. And they are OK, too. However, they are not the ones who will save this country. We are!

Integral is simply a map of consciousness and human development; a way of comprehending life and reality in broad yet precise terms; a concept that incorporates the core truths of hundreds of theories; and organizes the profound insights of the spiritual traditions, philosophy, modern science, developmental psychology, and many other disciplines, into a coherent whole. It simply grows values, builds awareness and integrates the perspectives that great thinkers, teachers, and researchers have brought to our understanding of self and world, the individual inner and outer and the collective inner-and outer. (Wilber)

Despite all the characteristics that differentiate us—race, language, religion, gender, wealth, and many others—we are all equal in terms of our basic humanity…The problem is that when we see ourselves only in terms of this or that group, we tend to forget about our wider identity as human beings…A key element in biased feelings is what we call “attachment”…What I am calling for is that we move beyond our limited or biased sense of closeness to this or that group or identity, and instead cultivate a sense of closeness to the entire human family. The attitude of “us” and “them” can and often does lead to conflict, even war. Much better, and more realistic, is the attitude of “we.” (Dalai Lama)

The evolutionary impulse intends to transcend and include, to improve the political processes, and to resolve the political party sorting issues. We are interdependent, share humanity, and target for happiness and avoidance of suffering. Life is short! Let us nurture universal compassion and a sense of We the people.” To plant the seed, other countries have done this, and we can, too! (Beck) The journey from me, my and mine to we, our and us is manifesting in each of us.

Sources

  • Beck, et al. (2018). Spiral Dynamics in Action. NY, NY: Wiley.
  • Wilber, et al. (2008). Integral Life Practice. Boston, MA: Integral Books.
  • Dalai Lama, Beyond Religion. (2011). NY, NY: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt.
  • Cohen, A. (2011). Evolutionary Enlightenment. NY, NY: Select Books.

TRUTH-TRUST DUO

Truth and trust matter; and truth and trust are an inseparable duo!

Truth connotes in accordance with fact or reality, or belief that is accepted as true; and trust is about reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, and surety of a person, place, or thing. Moreover, it is about confidence in a person, place, or thing. A personal contention is that trust is a result and is earned; and   it seems to be intimately related to honesty, respect, and one’s capacity to influence others to willingly move toward common purposes. In a discussion of leadership for the twenty-first century, Rost (Leadership for the 21st Century, 1993, Praeger, 102) suggests that leadership is a trust-based, influence relationship between the respective leader and the self, and among leaders and followers who intend ethical changes that mirror their common purpose.

During a stint with corporate America, a beautiful person by the name of Hyler Bracey, president of the Atlanta Consulting Group, became part of my life. When Hyler was twenty-eight years old, he drove stock cars. One evening during a race, he was in a serious wreck, and his car exploded into flames. He suffered burns over 40 percent of his body. Today, Hyler is severely scarred, his face is scar tissue, and his deformed hands with stiff bent fingers remind one of brittle burned twigs in a campfire. The amazing thing about Hyler is that in moments after meeting him, one sees through his scars and trauma and is connected to his heart.

All this is by way of sharing that Hyler helped me appreciate that building trust is hard work and a result of action and that single violations of trust by the self and others are difficult to repair. His teaching was that trust is the fruit of a three-step process. First, over time, the parties in relationships make agreements and commitments and keep these agreements and commitments. Second, the mandatory critical first step in relationship maturation leads to the development of credibility and respect; and third, steps one and two create an environment of openness, honesty, and space for willing transformation and change. The fruit of these three interdependent steps is trust, a vital ingredient for quality relationships, honest dialogue, and transformation.

Yes, truth and trust matter; and truth and trust are an inseparable duo! Hyler and three of his consulting associates and friends—Jack Rosenblum, Aubrey Sanford, and Roy Trueblood—have written and published a wonderful book, Managing from the Heart (1990, Atlanta, GA: Heart). The power of positive, heartfelt choice is infinite and can clarify intention, unlock facing everything and avoiding nothing and beckon accepting 100% responsibility for evolving environments on all levels. Listening to the conscience and telling the truth are wonderful gifts; and trust is the earned result.

 

 

 

 

 

BLOWN TIRE

As a student of life and golf, there are times when one experiences a taste of reality-absolute that is a big WOW, coupled with subsequent reflections about what to do now.

Having recently made a side trip into and out of a branded, well-marketed, “cutting edge, consciousness and evolution” virtual group, a desire bubbled up to better understand guru-disciple organizations. A reading trek uncovered Guru Papers and helped the sentinel peer into personal and cultural addiction to authoritarian-position power and hierarchical entities. A logical question: What does this have to do with golf? Simply about being and becoming. During Ritual, quieting the mind-being-and subsequently, becoming one with the environment, the golf club, the golf ball, and the desired target, trusting the subconscious, and pulling the trigger to send a ball off to an awaiting target.

 For every shot the golfer needs to evolve a Ritual for creating a personal teepee where the mind becomes clear and quiet [Shoemaker, F. (1996). Extraordinary Golf. NY, NY: Pedigree] and the programmed subconscious is given absolute trust to deliver a shot. In 1929 legendary Bobby Jones remarked,

 The golf swing is a most complicated combination of muscular actions, too complex to be controlled by objective conscious mental effort. Consequently, we must rely a good deal upon the instinctive reactions acquired by long practice. It has been my experience that the more completely we can depend upon this instinct—the more thoroughly we can divest the subjective mind of conscious control, the more exclusion of all thoughts as to method—is the secret of a good shot…After taking the stance, it is too late to worry. The only thing to do is to hit the ball. [Gallwey, W. (1998). The Inner Game of Golf. NY, NY: Random, 19-20]

It could be argued that pulling the trigger to make the shot is the most critical of all elements of the shot cycle; and it may be the simplest, and yet, possibly the most difficult because it must be done without thinking and with absolute trust of the subconscious to perform to expectations. As we settle to create the space bubble—the state of quiet presence—we are deliberately breathing. The Ritual is automatic and is the one distinct stimulus that will trigger and coordinate all the elements that facilitate potential emergence of the peak performance state, the authentic self. We are empty and the trigger is absently pulled.

This evolving master skill is individually unique and is the state of being present, tension-free, with that which is intended, for as long as intended. [Shoemaker, F. (2007). Extraordinary Putting, NY, NY: Penguin, 8-10] Summon the inner artist for a remarkable and often indescribable zone experience of spiritual oneness; and be witness to freedom and an intuitive unleashing of a unique, creative, synchronous flow of human physical activity. Simply relax and put your awareness where your deepest natural breathing originates—sensed image approximately 1½ inches below your navel. Let breathing be deep and full, shake loose any tension in the muscles, and trust that as center is experienced—seamless unity of body, mind and spirit setting the stage for “sweet impact” and zone performance—well-practiced actions will result naturally without effort. A “quick and dirty,” Ritual checklist might include:

  • Take a couple of deep, elevating breaths and visualize energy circulating between your feet and the earth below you. Feel static and dynamic balance and sense a balanced and solid foundation; and connect with the environment surrounding you.
  • Take three-five short, explosive breaths into the upper chest to activate the sympathetic nervous system, increase oxygen and intensify subtle energy currents. Charge the whole body, physically and emotionally, preparing for the exertion to come, make a final visual touch of the target.
  • On an out-breath, one-pointed concentration on the point of impact of club with ball—mindfulness—channeling all body energies into a laser beam of relaxed, focused concentration, letting go of everything—self-restraint—sensing the synchronous, flowing swing to impact with a ball creatively floating to the target—awareness—and becoming one with the environment, the club, the ball, and the target.

Squeeze Trigger: With passion burning, the captain of the ship squeezes the auto-pilot button and trusts the programmed subconscious to creatively deliver a ball to an intended target.

A good athlete can enter a state of body-awareness in which the right stroke or the right movement happens by itself, effortlessly, without any interference of the conscious will. This is the paradigm for non-action: the purest and most effective form of action. The game plays the game; the poem writes the poem; we can’t tell the dancer from the dance. [Mitchell, S. (2006). tao te ching. NY, NY: Harper, viii.]

Go play golf and simply be and become!!

 

TO DO LIST

Current reality assessment

Today’s media platforms reveal that America’s three-legged democracy stool is missing its third leg. Economics and politics are thriving; and the missing third leg, morality—ethics, character, decency, goodness, honesty, integrity, probity, rectitude, righteousness, rightness, uprightness, virtue, virtuousness, self-restraint—is blatantly obvious. Witness suppression of voting rights, mass and social media untruths, cyber and space warfare, infrastructure decay, inequitable wages, healthcare and childcare shortcomings, systemic racism and casts, LGBTQ rights questioned, environmental degradation, untreated mental health, home grown terrorism, immigration overload and inhumanity, thriving white supremacy, inequitable tax systems, politicism of COVID-19 and failure to prepare for future pandemics, education state-of-the art and funding deficiencies, insane gun control, political polarization, narcissistic political leadership, et al.  The danger is continued and deepening division, fear, and autocracy; and the opportunity is to confront narcissistic, ego driven theatrics, communications and behavior; improve common good as individuals; and merge and participate in intersubjective nonduality to collectively manifest common good, the missing third leg of the stool, morality, and for all Americans.

Vision

To collectively manifest a brighter future for the Universe by advancing the evolution of consciousness and culture. (Andrew Cohen)

Strategic Objective

Manifest a solid, three-legged stool—economics, politics, and morality—a democracy that inspires measurement, evaluation, and incentives based on achievement of common good, “… what is shared and beneficial for all or most members of a given community, or alternatively, what is achieved by citizenship, collective action, and active participation in the realm of politics and public service.” (Wikipedia)

Strategy

Develop and use political, economic, and moral resources to afford maximum support for the vision, to increase the probabilities and consequences of success and to lessen the chances of defeat.

Mission

To close with and destroy personal, individual, and collective egos.

Tactics

Individually and collectively, simply practice, practice, practice, and practice some more. Traditional enlightenment-meditation; evolutionary enlightenment-intersubjective nonduality groups with autonomy, communion, and natural hierarchy, or leadership via earned power. (Andrew Cohen)

Morality has become a lost virtue and narcissism is on the rampage in America. Unhealthy and healthy egos are rampant and getting in our way. Mass media headlines offer only the tip of the iceberg. A question for reflection: How can cultural morality be restored? One step at a time! Individually, we each need to become passionately inspired to get our own house in order and to show up for the common good. Collectively, we can merge with groups to facilitate contributions to common good and one can choose to purchase products and services from organizations that have chosen to be measured, evaluated, and incented via a common good report card. We have a lot to get done!

JUST SIT

Take a deep breath, exhale, and listen for the pleas amidst the noise and chaos.

It feels like the country is a mess and that post truth, and consequently mistrust, is bubbling with conspiracy, spins, lies, partial truths, and more lies! Simply unhealthy ego, work-in-process human condition and shortcomings that are offering platforms for tomorrow’s challenges, opportunities, and evolution.

Today’s social and mass media platforms reveal that America’s three-legged democracy stool is missing its third leg. Economics and politics are thriving; and the missing third leg, morality—ethics, character, decency, common good, honesty, integrity, probity, rectitude, righteousness, rightness, uprightness, virtue, virtuousness—is blatantly obvious. Witness suppression of voting rights, mass and social media untruths, cyber and space warfare, infrastructure decay, squabbles about the new NCAA rule that allows athletes to monetize brands, Critical Race Theory,  inequitable wages, healthcare and childcare shortcomings, systemic racism and casts, LGBTQ rights questioned, environmental degradation, untreated mental health, home grown terrorism, immigration overload and inhumanity, thriving white supremacy, baseless, sickening, political gobble de guke, education state-of-the-art and funding deficiencies, insane gun control, and the list could continue.  The danger is continued and deepening division, fear, and autocracy; and the opportunity is to improve common good as individuals; and merge and participate in interactive dialogue and collectively manifest the missing third leg of the stool, morality, or common good, for all Americans. As Jonathan Sacks offers in Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times,

Recovering liberal democratic freedom will involve emphasizing responsibilities as well as rights; shared rules, not just individual choices; caring for others as well as for ourselves; and making space not just for self-interest but also for common good. Morality is an essential feature of our human environment, as important as the market (economics) and the state (politics), but outsourceable to neither. Morality humanizes the competition for wealth and power. It is the redemption of our solitude. (20)

An analytical glance reveals a least common denominator to be polarization, nurtured by festering, unhealthy selves that unleash pain and suffering in many forms. Meditation and collective, interactive dialogue offer a breath of evolutionary optimism and hope for Americans to have productive, interactive, authentic dialogue to build coalitions, work together, and experience compassion as the antibiotic to confront a nasty infection. No one needs to suffer, and no one wants to suffer.

Take a few minutes and sit with the question: What is the most important thing in my life right now?

If you are not already a meditator, a recommended next step is that you find a meditation coach and start a meditation practice. If you have never meditated before, have fun with it and be patient. To get you started, each morning practice sitting meditation for at least ten to twenty minutes. Find a comfortable, quiet place. You can sit in a chair, on a cushion, in your truck or car, or on the floor. When you sit in a chair, place your feet flat on the ground and sit upright. If you sit on the floor, sit in whatever way is comfortable: cross-legged, on a pillow, or on a meditation bench. Select a way that fits you! As you begin to take your seat, rock to the left and right, and then back and forth, to settle your buttocks. As you begin to settle in, sit with your head erect and your chin tucked in slightly. Put your shoulders back. Visualize your ears being aligned with your belly button; lift your head and neck as if they were being pulled by the sky. Find a comfortable position for your hands, such as resting them in your lap or one hand on each of your knees. You can sit with your eyes open or closed. If you sit with them open, lower your gaze, pick a spot on the floor in front of you, and let your eyes rest there. In sitting meditation, posture is like a foundation and is quite important for a resting mind: as the body goes, so goes the mind; as the mind goes, so goes the body. Good posture facilitates the easy flow of the breath, too. As you settle into your chosen posture, spend a few moments paying attention to your breathing, focusing on each in-breath and each out-breath. Feel your abdomen expanding when you breathe in. Feel it contracting when you breathe out. Note how the breath tickles the skin between your nose and upper lip. There is nothing to be accomplished, nothing to be gained. Notice your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Do not attach yourself to them, and do not reject them. Just observe them, let them go, and keep breathing. If you find you are having difficulty staying focused on your breath, use the technique of counting your breaths as a support. Take one in-breath and one out-breath, and count one, in, out, and count two, and so forth, until you reach ten. Once you have reached ten, count backward. Keep in mind that the point is not in getting to ten but in staying connected to your breath, being mindful of your breath. Just sit, pay attention, let go and listen for orders.

Sitting practice offers a tremendous sense of freedom and peace. With daily practice, meditation can quite easily become a part of your daily activities. The deep game is not about being dealt a better hand, but about playing the cards we are dealt with as much intelligence, care, and creativity as we possibly can. Now you are finally free to be the freedom you have been from the beginning. ‘Just this’ is the ultimate reward that comes from inhabiting the particular cartoon character you drew from this Kosmic deck of cards.

Just sit, pay attention and let go.

MORALITY

Today’s media platforms reveal that America’s three-legged democracy stool is missing its third leg. Economics and politics are thriving; and the missing third leg, morality—ethics, character, decency, goodness, honesty, integrity, probity, rectitude, righteousness, rightness, uprightness, virtue, virtuousness—is blatantly obvious. Witness suppression of voting rights, mass and social media untruths, cyber and space warfare, infrastructure decay, inequitable wages, healthcare and childcare shortcomings, systemic racism and casts, LGBTQ rights questioned, environmental degradation, untreated mental health, home grown terrorism, immigration overload and inhumanity, thriving white supremacy, inequitable tax systems, politicism of COVID-19 and failure to prepare for future pandemics, education state-of-the art and funding deficiencies, insane gun control, et al.  The danger is continued and deepening division, fear, and autocracy; and the opportunity is to improve common good as individuals; and merge and participate in interactive dialogue and collectively manifest the missing third leg of the stool, morality, or common good, for all Americans. As Jonathan Sacks offers in Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times,

Recovering liberal democratic freedom will involve emphasizing responsibilities as well as rights; shared rules, not just individual choices; caring for others as well as for ourselves; and making space not just for self-interest but also for common good. Morality is an essential feature of our human environment, as important as the market (economics) and the state (politics), but outsourceable to neither. Morality humanizes the competition for wealth and power. It is the redemption of our solitude. (20)

A personal sentiment for a strategic objective, a solid, three-legged stool—economics, politics, and morality—is to have democracy that inspires measurement, evaluation, and incentives based on achievement of common good, “… what is shared and beneficial for all or most members of a given community, or alternatively, what is achieved by citizenship, collective action, and active participation in the realm of politics and public service.” (Wikipedia)

Individually and collectively, how does one measure, evaluate, and incent the manifestation of common good? With help from those who have done integral theory, spiral dynamics, and common good homework:[1]

Individually: The AQAL (All Quadrants, All Lines) Framework (Wilber et al, Integral Life Practice, 10-26, 70) is a map that helps organize how things fit together and manifest for an individual in the world. There are four quadrants, or aspects of being, showing up, in the world:

  • Individual interior (I): intentions, thoughts, feelings, volitions, and psychology.

-What is surfacing in your consciousness?

-What are your reflections of the world?

  • Collective interior (We): relationships, culture, and shared meaning.

-What are the common feelings and emotions in relationships?

-What are shared feelings in the culture?

-What are common family feelings?

  • Individual exterior (It): physical body and behaviors.

-What can you see, touch, feel, taste, and smell?

-What actions and behaviors are being witnessed?

  • Collective exterior (Its): environment, social structures, and systems.

-What institutions, businesses, and political systems are in the environment?

-What industries are satisfying needs and wants?

A brief overview of the elements within each of the four quadrants is as follows:

  • Levels are higher order structures that emerge as evolution breaks into new territory. These structures reflect altitudes of consciousness—egocentric, ethnocentric, worldcentric. Also sometimes called “stages” or “waves” of development with growing up structures and views. Examples: student to virtuoso; and amateur to professional.
  • Lines are specific areas in which growth and development can occur—interpersonal, moral, musical, needs, and cognitive. Lines are sometimes called “multiple intelligences” or “streams” of development.
  • States of consciousness are temporary, changing, and sometimes heightened forms of awareness—waking, dreaming, deep sleep, meditative states, “the zone,” and “peak experience.”
  • Types are horizontal differences—masculine and feminine expressions, cultural differences, male-female, and personality types such as Enneagram or Myers-Briggs.

Collectively: The Common Good Matrix (http://www.ecogood.org/apply-ecg/common-good-matrix/) is a model for the organizational development and evaluation of entrepreneurial as well as charitable activities. It assesses and scores the contribution to the common good. Values that promote successful relationships and a good life (Human Dignity; Solidarity and Social Justice; Environmental Sustainability and Transparency; and Co-determination) are evaluated in relation to the five stakeholder groups with which an organization has contact (Suppliers; Owners, Equity and Financial Service Providers; Employees, including Co-Working Employers; and Customers and Other Companies). The matrix offers intersections between values and stakeholder groups offering themes that describe and evaluate an organization’s contribution to the common good.

Out of the starting blocks, one is now able to go airborne in a helicopter, peer down, and begin to become aware and understand how “whole” individuals and collectives “show up” in the world, choosing to either deliver common good or narcissism.

Morality has become a lost virtue and narcissism is on the rampage in America. Mass media headlines offer only the tip of the iceberg. A question for reflection: How can cultural morality be restored? One step at a time! Individually, we each need to become passionately inspired to get our own house in order and to show up for the common good. Collectively, we can merge with groups to facilitate contributions to common good and one can choose to purchase products and services from organizations that have chosen to be measured, evaluated, and incented via a common good report card.

[1] Wilber, K. (2011). A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science, and Spirituality. Boston, MA: Shambhala. Wilber, K. (2000). Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy. Boston, MA: Shambhala. Wilber, K., Patten, T., Leonard, A., Morelli, M. (2008). Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening. Boston, MA: Integral. Beck, D., Larsen, T., Solonin, S., Viljoen, R., Johns, T. (2018). Spiral Dynamics in Action: Humanity’s Master Code. West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons. http://www.ecogood.org/apply-ecg/common-good-matrix/.

 

 

COMMON GOOD

Interesting question for reflection: What can I do to help save democracy?

The current reality of America’s flaming condition is captured in the daily headlines…voting rights being squelched, defund the police, COVID-19 vaccination status, mass shootings, gun control, corruption, pharmaceuticals, marijuana, CBD, political polarization, education funding, Department of Justice overstep, Supreme Court bias, et al. Am certain you get the jist!

The country is at a crossroads, democracy, love, and freedom, or autocracy, fear, and control. As Americans, it feels like we need to decide what type of country we desire; and how we can facilitate, enable, and participate in moving the current reality closer to the chosen strategic objective for the country. And it is no secret that some folks will pitch-in and make things happen; some folks will watch what happened; and some folks will wonder what happened. That is OK.

A personal sentiment for a strategic objective-vision is to have a democracy that is measured, evaluated, and incented based on achievement of common good. This is an overwhelming task when one climbs into the helicopter and looks around. There are millions of citizens with inner consciousness, psychology, purposes, values, goals, objectives, physics, biology, and neurology. There are myriads of families, collectives, cultures, groups, and communities with music, art, political values, and connections. And there are multitudes of institutions, social systems, economies, and environments. In today’s diverse, politically sorted world, integration is certainly not an easy task! Where does one start to create processes that are measured, evaluated, and incented based on contributions to the common good? Perhaps a nice place to start is with a definition of common good.

“In philosophy, economics, and political science, the common good refers to either what is shared and beneficial for all or most members of a given community, or alternatively, what is achieved by citizenship, collective action, and active participation in the realm of politics and public service.” (Wikipedia)

There is a bunch of stuff that needs to get done for the common good: non-political management of voting rights, technology building, cyber and spacial warfare, infrastructure maintenance and improvement, jobs creation and good wages, healthcare improvements, childcare, overcoming systemic racism, LGBTQ rights, environmental preservation, confronting home grown terrorism, immigration reform, transcending white supremacy, fair share tax systems, sanely evolving through COVID-19 and preparing for future pandemics, education state-of-the art and funding, sane gun control, policing in communities, et al. As the two Japanese characters for crisis offer, with danger comes opportunity. The danger is continued and expanded division, fear, and autocracy; and the opportunity is to work on our unhealthy personal and collective issues, participate in interactive dialogue and coalitions, and manifest the common good for all Americans.

The strategic objective is to sanely evolve and preserve America and the Universe for generations to come. Strategies are individual and collective and include waking up, growing up, and showing up as caring and compassionate individuals and collectives. The mission: To have individuals and collectives create and implement positive, caring, loving tension between the current reality and the strategic objective to evolve current reality closer to the strategic objective, i.e., to close the widening, flaming gap between the current reality and the strategic objective.

If open to the challenge, ready for the opportunity, and in need of a boost to get started:

  • Have fun buying some stickers! Catherine Price, in her Mindfulness Journal, recommends buying a pack of small stickers—any kind will do—and place a dozen or so around your home and office in noticeable places, such as your bathroom mirror, your computer, the back of your phone, the wall behind your kitchen sink, your alarm clock, or the cover of (your) journal. Every time you see one of these stickers, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING, BREATHE, AND BE. Pay attention and let go.
  • Locate a credible meditation instructor and learn to meditate. Your world will begin to change and freshen.
  • For reflection: What unlocks love and compassion for others? How does one learn self-restraint?

Our individual and collective assignments are to make TO SAVE THE DEMOCRACY TO DO LISTS; and then get to work. There is a great deal to be done for the common good!

WORKING THE GOLF BALL

Review of Ball Flight Laws

There are five ball flight laws that control a ball’s flight; and the flight of the little white ball has clear messages needed for focused practice, evolving awareness of the golf swing, and strategic play of this pesky, fun game. The laws are as follows:

  • Clubface angle.
  • Clubface path.
  • Angle of the club’s approach to the ball.
  • Centeredness of impact of the ball with the clubface.
  • Speed of the clubface at impact.

The two primary variables that control ball flight direction are clubface angle and clubface path.  Trackman data indicate that for irons clubface angle at impact controls 75% of ball flight direction; and that clubface path at impact controls 25% of ball flight direction. For the driver Trackman data indicate that clubface angle at impact controls 85% of ball flight direction; and that clubface path at impact controls 15% of ball flight direction.

Clubface path at impact dictates the initial ball flight direction. Path can be inside-out, straight, or outside-in to the ball-target line. Clubface angle at impact dictates the secondary ball flight direction. Clubface angle can be closed, square, or open to the ball-target line. Together, clubface angle and clubface path result in nine different ball flights that can be read and managed. The nine ball flight laws for a right-handed golfer are as follows:

  1. Push-Draw (inside-out path, clubface closed): ball flies straight but to right of target; and then bends-draws-hooks to the left.
  2. Push (inside-out path, clubface square): ball flies straight but to right of target.
  3. Push-Fade (inside-out path, clubface open): ball flies straight but to right of target; and then bends-fades-slices to right.
  4. Straight-Draw (straight path, clubface closed): ball flies straight; and then bends-draws-hooks left.
  5. Straight (straight path, clubface square): ball is on target.
  6. Straight-Fade (straight path, clubface open): ball flies straight; and then bends-fades-slices right.
  7. Pull-Draw (outside-in path, clubface closed): ball flies straight but to left of target; and then bends-draws-hooks left.
  8. Pull (outside-in path, clubface square): ball flies straight but to left of target.
  9. Pull-Fade (outside-in path, clubface open): ball flies straight but left of target; and then bends-fades-slices right.

Deliberately working the golf ball

DISTANCE: deliberately working the ball impacts club selection. A draw and a fade travel less distance than a straight shot; and a draw travels less distance than the fade because of spin differences generated at impact.

SET UP, right-handed golfer.

  • Draw: visualize the initial ball flight moving to the right of the intended target; and the secondary ball flight drawing left to the intended target.
  • Fade: visualize the initial ball flight moving to the left of the intended target; and the secondary ball flight fading right to the intended target.

 

  • Aim line: the direction the ball is initially intended to start, right of intended target for a draw, left of intended target for a fade.
  • Stance: parallel left of aim line.
  • Ball position: on the aim line two balls behind inside of left heel.
  • Grip: hands remain at neutral grip position; slightly loosen grip and with one free hand, rotate the club shaft-club face to intended target, rotate left for draw, rotate right for fade; and re-grip club.
  • Posture: same as straight shot.

SWING MOTION: straight shot swing motion.

RITUAL

  • Ground: take a couple of deep, elevating breaths, and visualize energy circulating between your feet and the earth below you. Feel static and dynamic balance and sense a balanced and solid foundation; and connect with the environment surrounding you.
  • Passionate Intention: take three-five short breaths into the upper chest to activate the sympathetic nervous system, increase oxygen, and intensify subtle energy currents. Charge the whole body, physically and emotionally, preparing for the exertion to come, make a final visual touch of the target.
  • Relaxed Focus: on an out-breath, one-pointed concentration on the point of impact of club with ball—mindfulness—channeling all body energies into a laser beam of relaxed, focused concentration, letting go of everything—self-restraint—and sensing the synchronous, flowing swing to impact with a ball creatively floating to the target—awareness. Become one with the environment, a golf club, a golf ball, and the target.

Squeeze Trigger: With passion burning, the captain of the ship squeezes the auto-pilot button and trusts the programmed subconscious to creatively deliver a ball to an intended target.

 

A good athlete can enter a state of body-awareness in which the right stroke or the right movement happens by itself, effortlessly, without any interference of the conscious will. This is the paradigm for non-action: the purest and most effective form of action. The game plays the game; the poem writes the poem; we cannot tell the dancer from the dance. (Stephen Mitchel, Tao Te Ching, vii)

BE THE CHANGE

Today it feels like the raging fire of polarization needs water! Simply, a view of the values of Self, others, and the collective through the lens of integral leadership, love, and compassion: visionary, worldview perspective, evolving and emerging now; words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, giving gifts and acts of service; and humanness. An inspiring task, to say the least: merging with others and co-creating the change and transition the world needs now, just connecting everything to everything else, efforts integrated, aligned and synergized, creating critical mass.

Political parties and politicians do not address root causes of issues for Americans. Unfortunately, they work problems, chat about symptoms, and offer tokens that offer temporary patches, permit posturing, and earn votes. And the cycles continue, election after election. The diversity of values of the Senators from the 50 states and 435 voting representatives, five delegates and one resident commissioner merging create a complex process that is certainly indicative of a government that is currently not able to accomplish much for Americans. Adding to the caldron of values complexity are ingrained, diverse, individual and collective cultural values—persons, families, neighborhoods, small towns, and cities—of Americans, and competing political parties and politicians who are marketing and selling changing and evolving, diverse party platforms, while lobbying for votes and salvation of jobs that pay personal bills.

After completing a quick and dirty review of the diversity of the Republican Party and Democratic Party platforms, partisan differences highlight the reality of limited and partial truths and the downsides of today’s political party sorting as fundamental to individual and collective identity. Moreover, there are glaring inadequacies of both parties because of a lack of view big enough to address the complex issues facing America and global partners today. This certainly helps one understand partisan political division, discord, and complexity in today’s evolving, awakening, and growing world; and it reinforces why folks are unable to agree on what America needs to unfold for generations to come. We each have values and are growing and evolving; our respective communities and cultures have values, are growing and are evolving; and we are all OK.

And political parties and politicians will not get this job done for us! They can help us! We need good leaders who are aware of and have a track record of successes in awakening collective intelligence beyond polarization. This requires having moved beyond the chains of ego; personal success with the journey of merging and becoming one with others; and successes with managing and leading dynamic change and transition. (Cohen) Integral captures the essence of the process; and it demands a long-term process, not a one or two term posture game. We the people must get committed to get it right because this is our process, not some process sold to us by a vote getting politician. And they are OK, too. However, they are not the ones who will save this country. We are!

Integral is simply a map of consciousness and human development; a way of comprehending life and reality in broad yet precise terms; a meta-theory that incorporates the core truths of hundreds of theories; and organizes the profound insights of the spiritual traditions, philosophy, modern science, developmental psychology, and many other disciplines, into a coherent whole. It simply integrates the perspectives that great thinkers, teachers, and researchers have brought to our understanding of self and world, the individual inner-mind and emotions-and outer-physical body-and the collective inner-family and culture-and outer-institutions. (Wilber)

Despite all the characteristics that differentiate us—race, language, religion, gender, wealth, and many others—we are all equal in terms of our basic humanity…The problem is that when we see ourselves only in terms of this or that group, we tend to forget about our wider identity as human beings…A key element in biased feelings is what we call “attachment”…What I am calling for is that we move beyond our limited or biased sense of closeness to this or that group or identity, and instead cultivate a sense of closeness to the entire human family. The attitude of “us” and “them” can and often does lead to conflict, even war. Much better, and more realistic, is the attitude of “we.” (Dalai Lama)

The evolutionary impulse intends to transcend and include, to improve the political processes, and to resolve the political party sorting issues. We are interdependent, share humanity, and target for happiness and avoidance of suffering. Life is short! Let us nurture universal compassion and a sense of We the people.” To plant the seed, other countries have done this, and we can, too! (Beck) The journey from me, my and mine to we, our and us is manifesting in each of us. We just need to connect the dots.

Sources

  • Beck, et al. (2018). Spiral Dynamics in Action. NY, NY: Wiley.
  • Wilber, et al. (2008). Integral Life Practice. Boston, MA: Integral Books.
  • Dalai Lama, Beyond Religion. (2011). NY, NY: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt.
  • Cohen, A. (2011). Evolutionary Enlightenment. NY, NY: Select Books.

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